Believing in God, not organized religion

Yes, we believe he does
Yes, we believe he does

The temperatures this morning remain warm and my Harley awaits for a second day of exploring the roads.

I will head out in a bit and meet friends from The Roanoke Valley Harley Owners Group for breakfast.  Then we will ride.

Spring is here and the riding season is upon us.

“Wait a minute,” a friend’s email said Saturday when I wrote about riding this weekend.  “What about church?  Are you going to church?”

No.  I no longer go to church.  I believe in God but I do not believe in or support organized religion.  In my opinion, organized religion does not believe in, or serve, God.

Organized religions, from my point of view, are cults, political activist groups and businesses.  They serve a variety of agendas and few, if any, of those agendas serve God or those who believe in a deity of choice.

Over the years, I have watched religions turn a contradictory, hypocritical and meandering book called the Bible into a tool of misapplied dogma.  The Bible, in my assessment as a writer and journalist, is an opinionated collection of often conflicting chapters written by men with varying agendas and interpretations of what was, in ancient times, considered a belief in what others called the “word of God.”  It was used to drive human ambitions, not divine prophecy and it is used for the same purposes today.

It is a book that declares those “who work on the sabbath” should be killed (a directive blithely ignored by ministers who work on Sundays), declares death for minor infractions, relates tall tales about parting oceans and burning bushes that speak and considers women second-class citizens.

Despite the claims of Christians who declare only their faith is the “true word of God,” there are many different religions in this country and around the world.  Christians believe in a son of God.  Jews do not.  Muslims see God in different ways.  So do Buddhists.  In ancient times, Greeks believed in a family of gods.  So have others.

As a 67-year-old man who believes in God, I see a God who does not hate gays, practices tolerance not discrimination, does not wreak vengeance upon the world or condemn those who raise questions to a divine entity.  God, for all I know, could be a woman or a being without gender.

I remember an editorial cartoon from many years ago that had two apes talking and one said:  “Evolution?  Nonsense.  I believe that God, all knowing and all wise, created us in his own image.”

Perhaps he did.  Perhaps God created an amoeba in his own image.  No one knows for sure.  That’s the problem with religion.  Those who claim to know, don’t.  They promote an image that is false.

Organized religion serves the materialistic and opportunistic needs of humans who serve their own interests and/or those who follow their preachings that all too often than not do not even come close resembling the “word of God.”

In the end, we either believe or we don’t.

I believe in God.  For me, that is all that matters.

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